When I was about 16 years old, I told my pediatric care doctor that I was having headaches very often, and they “sucked.” My mother had a benign meningioma that had grown over 10 years and two brain surgeries and doctors told her for years it was just her sinuses, and my pediatrician knew that. Being the cautious and caring doctor she was, she sent me to get an MRI and to a neurologist for a consult, and of course, everything was negative. They told me that it was maybe just due to stress and sent me on my way.
Years later, at 22 years old I was on my way to a friend’s house up north from a doctor’s appointment. I had missed the doctor’s appointment and I was incredibly frustrated. Mind you, I felt completely fine that day.
My mother and baby cousin were with me since my mom and I were watching her, and my mom wanted to be present for that appointment. I got into my car and did not even make it 5 minutes from the clinic before I began to feel dizzy and blacked out while I was driving. When I came to, everything was loud, bright and I was very disoriented.
I slowly drove down the block to the gas station on the corner and when I got out, I fell to the ground because I had no balance. I shakily went into the gas station, thinking I was just having heat exhaustion and almost fell again. I stumbled back to my car and instantly called my mom and told her that I couldn’t stand for some reason.
She rushed me back to the clinic of the missed appointment only to have me almost pass out at the door. Nurses and medical personnel crowded me, getting my blood pressure and asking me basic questions about myself that I couldn’t answer. My mom said I was unresponsive and they took me upstairs to try to get me stable. I began to shiver intensely on the table and they had to hold me down. A few minutes later I stopped, came to a bit, but felt exhausted. For two weeks, I had to stay in the dark, couldn’t handle loud noises and was restricted from driving.
At 24, my current age, I had another strange episode in the middle of the night in May. I woke up in the middle of the night with a searing pain on the right side of my head. It felt like someone shoved a hot iron pole into my head and my ear and neck were so tight, I started crying. I remember trying to call out to my mom, whose room is next door, but my words were jumbled. I tried to get up but struggled to get my reigns and I passed out, only to wake up and pass out again.
That day I was later than usual to work and could barely understand what was going on, and was very bothered by the lights. That day, I also spaced out and didn’t realize that I was completely in a daze until I came to about 5 minutes later and I don’t remember doing anything in that time frame. I was nauseous all day, and the light bothered me a lot. It took me about a week to feel back to myself.
I also went to the ER, but that was a terrible and uneventful experience.
Finally, my primary care doctor decided it was time to figure out what was going on and said that it was most likely migraines, but the symptoms were strange, and she wanted me to get an EEG.
After an appointment with my ophthalmologist, and a clear EEG and MRI later, I have been told that I am most likely just having migraines and anemia (which I already knew).
While my primary care physician is still looking to rule things out, we have been treating them like migraines.
I decided against getting a 6 hour EEG because I would rather just wait until another “episode,” so my doctor can witness it and we can go from there.
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Currently, I take Imitrex when I feel an impending migraine and I have nausea medication. I do not drive when I have a migraine or I’m experiencing an episode, and I try to stay in the house or wear sunglasses if I have to go outside.
I also try to keep things relatively quiet and try to get as much rest as possible. I drink plenty of fluids and also try to maintain a cool, humid-free environment in my room.
Honestly, I’m not sure if migraines is an accurate diagnosis, but I’m not trying to be continuously poked and prodded. For now, I’m going to continue to take my Magnesium (which helps with headaches) and continue to follow up with my PCP. If anything changes, I’ll write an article update!
Stay healthy, everyone!